Latest News

30
Sep

Review Commission Loses Two Members

The terms of two members of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission have expired.

The six-year terms of Chairwoman Mary Lu Jordan and Commissioner Michael Young ended Aug. 31.  According to a notice on the Commission’s website, Jordan and Young will serve the quasi-judicial body as counsels to the three remaining members and will work on special projects. 

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30
Sep

Deadly Coal Outburst Came Days after One Operator Did Not Report, State Finds

A coal outburst that claimed two miners’ lives at a West Virginia mine happened three days after another outburst which the mine did not report to state authorities, according to investigators from the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training (OMHST).

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30
Sep

MSHA Case Settlements

West Virginia Sandstone Producer

MSHA has reached a settlement with a West Virginia sandstone producer in which the operator has agreed to implement and maintain benching and highwall procedures and to withdraw its notice of contest in 10 case dockets.

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29
Sep

Analysis: Grant Projects Fall Short of Congressional Intent

Congress intended money under the Brookwood-Sago grants program to have a broad reach, but MSHA’s focus with the funding has primarily been on emergency response in underground coal mines.

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29
Sep

Mine Closes Following Tough MSHA Inspection

A tiny Colorado aggregate producer shut down six months after a disastrous MSHA inspection left the operator with $42,281 in proposed fines.

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27
Sep

Miner Dies at Texas Salt Mine

A miner was killed Friday morning at United Salt Corp.’s Hockley Mine, an underground salt mine in Texas.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences identified the victim as Mark Benoit, 55, of Waller.  According to MSHA, he was killed about 7:10 a.m. while performing maintenance on a forklift aboveground.  The machine shifted and pinned him against a wall.  Benoit, who had been employed at the mine since 2012, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The cause of death was blunt chest trauma.

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26
Sep

Union Training Center Big Winner of Brookwood-Sago Funding

The big winner over the years of funding under the MSHA-administered Brookwood Sago grants program has been the United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, Inc. (UMWACC).

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25
Sep

MSHA Targets 3 Mines under POV Program

A Colorado metal mine had been placed on pattern of violation (POV) status, while a second metal mine in Texas and an underground coal mine in Alabama were put into POV-postponement status, MSHA announced today.

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25
Sep

MSHA Issues Policy Letter on Safeguards

A new MSHA policy for handling underground coal operator challenges to agency-issued safeguard notices brings MSHA’s procedures in line with those the agency employs to handle challenges to its roof control, ventilation and emergency response plans.

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25
Sep

MSHA Hands Out $1 Million for Mine Emergency Response

MSHA has awarded $1 million in Brookwood-Sago grants to seven organizations for various mine emergency prevention, preparedness, response and rescue activities.

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24
Sep

MSHA Imposes Fine after Sinkhole Traps Bad Guy

MSHA cited a Kentucky underground aggregate producer after an individual, fleeing from the police, fell into a sinkhole on mine property.

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24
Sep

Good News and Bad in August Impact Inspections

The good news regarding MSHA’s August impact inspection sweep was that no metal/non-metal (M/NM) mines were included, but the bad news is that 131 citations and 11 orders were written at 12 coal operations.

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23
Sep

MSHA: Failure to Provide Protective Devices Caused Miner’s Death

Failure to provide protective devices on a conveyor belt to prevent the operator from falling onto the moving belt led to the death of a 20-year-old Texas miner, according to MSHA.

Miguel Nino was killed May 9 at Mississippi Sand, LLC’s Seagraves sand and gravel mine in Gaines County.  MSHA said he fell into a moving conveyor being used to transfer frac sand from a rail car into a truck.  Nino died at a local hospital about 90 minutes after the accident of traumatic asphyxia.  He had nine weeks of mining experience.

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23
Sep

Operator, Contractor Guilty of High Negligence in Supervisor’s Death, MSHA Says

MSHA has charged a South Carolina aggregate operator and its contractor with aggravated negligent conduct following an explosion which killed a production supervisor, who had ignored the manufacturer’s warnings against applying heat to an impeller hub.

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22
Sep

MSHA Asserts High Negligence Involved in Nevada Mine Co-Owner’s Death

MSHA has accused the operator of a Nevada surface gypsum mine of high negligence in the death of the mine’s co-owner/president in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rollover accident last May.

William M. Hill, 57, was killed at Silver State Minerals, LLC’s newly opened Gypsum Mountain Mine in Pershing County when the ATV he was operating rolled over on steep terrain.  Hill was pinned beneath the left front fender and wheel and died of blunt neck trauma and compressive asphyxiation.  He was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear at the time of the accident.

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18
Sep

Advanced Black Lung Disease at Highest Point in 40 Years, Researchers Say

The severest form of black lung disease has been on a sharply upward trajectory for the past 15 years and has now reached a prevalence rate of 3.23% as a five-year moving average among miners in central Appalachia.

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18
Sep

Attorneys Foresee Trouble for Operators in MSHA’s Civil Penalty Proposal

Two mining industry attorneys essentially contend that MSHA’s proposed civil penalty rule is a wolf in sheep’s clothing in that the regulation will bring about results opposite those the agency says it wants to accomplish and will make life tougher for mine operators.

“There will be a significant increase in penalties,” predicted Mark Savit, who along with Henry Chajet presented their analysis of the proposal in a webinar Tuesday.  This represents a sharp disagreement with MSHA, which stated in its proposal that total penalties would remain about the same.

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17
Sep

Coal Stakeholder Meeting Assailed, MSHA Fires Back

MSHA’s stakeholder meetings with coal operators on its respirable coal dust rule reportedly are neither collaborative nor all-inclusive.  They also do not include the trade press.

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16
Sep

Big MSHA Fines Upheld against Coal Operator in Fatal Accident

A judge has upheld three $52,500 fines against a Kentucky surface coal operator after a vehicular accident that left the driver dead.

Rhett Mosley, 32, was operating a 1988 tandem lube truck that when out of control on a steep downhill grade at Rex Coal Co., Inc.’s Rex Strip #1 in Harlan County in November 2010.  Mosley was thrown from the vehicle or jumped and was found pinned beneath the service bed area of the vehicle.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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16
Sep

Judge Dismisses Aggregate Producer’s EAJA Claim

A judge has rejected a claim for legal fees brought by a Texas quarry operator after MSHA decided to vacate seven citations.

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Coming Events

Oct. 22, PERA Building Training Room, Santa Fe, NM

Oct. 24, ENMU Union Building, Roswell, NM

Oct. 28-29, Peppermill Hotel, Reno, NV

Poll

This month marks the 5th anniversary of Joe Main's tenure as MSHA Assistant Secretary. Overall, is he doing a good job?
Yes
0%
No
100%
No Opinion
0%
Total votes: 3

Current Regulatory Agenda

Proposed (P) Final (F)
(DFR) Direct Final Rule

MSHA
(F) Prox Detect Devices: CMMs Jun '14
(P) Fees for Product Testing Aug. '14
(
P) Civil Penalties Issued Aug '14
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Sep. '14

OSHA
(F) Update NAICS Issued Sep '14
(F) Confined Space Construction Aug '14
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Oct '14
(F) Improve Injury Tracking Mar '15
(
P) Employers' Rptg. Obligation Aug '14
(P) Beryllium Jul '14
(P, DFR) Eye, Face Protection Sep. '14

Fatalities

          2014

  • Coal 13
  • Aggregates 9
  • Other M/NM 11

Total 33

         2013

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 12
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 41

         2012

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 10
  • Other M/NM 6

Total 36

    2011
  • Coal 21
  • Aggregates 8
  • Other M/NM 8

Total 37

 

 

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